Ace Frehley: Origins Vol. 1

Simply Ace.

Ace Frehley Origins Vol. 1 album cover

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Albums full of cover versions are often torpid affairs cobbled together to fulfil the arse-end of a recording contract. Not so this one by founding Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley.

Origins Vol. 1 is the genuine article, full of fervent, vivacious takes on songs that inspired Ace in his youth. Plus there’s a monumental milestone to savour: Ace hooks up with Kiss frontman Paul Stanley on the Free chestnut Fire And Water, marking the first time the pair have collaborated on the same recording since Kiss’s 1998 reunion album Psycho Circus. The result, as you might expect, is breathtaking: the Starchild’s impressive lower-register vocals hit the sweet spot, while Frehley’s metalised Kossoff guitar ramblings are guaranteed to bring a smile to your painted face.

The bottom line is that Origins Vol. 1 is a hilariously good album. The scene is set on opening track White Room, Ace stripping the Cream classic of its spectral nature and reducing it to the level of someone banging together a pair of dustbin lids and shouting. A little later you’ll relish the moment when he tries but fails to get to grips with Phil Lynott’s distinctly Oirish vocals on Thin Lizzy’s Emerald.

Other guest stars include Slash (who plays Gorham to Frehley’s Robertson on the aforementioned track), and Lita Ford who cuts up rough on The Troggs’ Wild Thing. It makes you wonder why you never realised before that Ace is America’s answer to Reg Presley.

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.